How To Build A Backyard Pond The Best Way

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Pond Contractors In Tulsa, Oklahoma And The Surrounding Areas Should Be Following Steps Close To These When They Build A Backyard Pond

At some point during your pond project, you’ll look out back and start stressing out because you see a giant hole in your yard. Knowing what comes next can help put you more at ease.

In this post, you can find out the basic steps for how contractors should build ponds in backyards. You can also discover some information you should know, like what can change the steps.

Waterfall and pond designed by Backyard Depot

How Do Pond Contractors Build A Backyard Pond?

1. Pond design

This is where you can flex your creative muscle or let your contractor take care of it for you.

When it comes to your pond design, you can have as much of a hand in it as you want. You can bring your contractor ideas and they can try to work them into the design.

The more complex your design is, the more expensive it’ll be. It may also lengthen the timeline.

2. Outline the boundaries

Before you start, you’ll want to know what it’ll look like in your yard. 

Doing this will help your contractor see where to dig and where not to. Most use plant-safe spray paint to mark out the area when they build a backyard pond. This helps them stay digging inside the lines.

3. Set out the skimmer, biofalls, and plumbing where they’ll go

You’ll also use this part to help visualize what your water feature will look like. This step also helps you or your contractor prepare the area correctly.

4. Connect the BioFalls

The BioFalls are your waterfall and water filter. It uses beneficial pond bacteria to clean the water as it runs through it. You’ll see a lot of ponds only have one, but you can always upgrade to get more.

5. Dig out the basin

When you build a backyard pond, you’re going to be doing a lot of digging.

Depending on your design, you can just use shovels or you may need a small backhoe. This is a machine that scoops up larger amounts of dirt.

Koi ponds need to be at least 2 feet deep so the koi have enough room to swim around in. It also gives them some room to sleep in near the bottom if the top freezes.

You first dig down 12 inches and create a flat area. This shelf is for aquatic plants and to get in and out of the pond during maintenance. Dig another 12 inches down and start clearing out where the pond bottom will be. 

Some contractors won’t build a backyard pond deeper due to there being more tree roots, which makes digging more difficult.

6. Lay down the underlayment and liner

You install these to help keep the water in the pond and out of your yard.

Laying it down incorrectly or damaging it during installation can cause a leak in the future. This is why you need to install it carefully and correctly. It can take a while anyway since you need to attach it to the skimmer and filter very precisely.

What to keep in mind during this step:

  • Use 45-mil EPDM liner
  • Make sure it goes a foot beyond the edge of your pond
  • Anchor it down using rocks
  • The less wrinkles there are, the better (some wrinkles are fine)
  • Pull the liner behind your waterfall

7. Install up your skimmers

You need skimmers when you build a backyard pond.

Without them, your pond would become a mess! Debris will be floating around, clogs may happen, and the debris will break down into sludge and feed algae growth.

Your skimmers catch leaves, sticks, and other large debris. The way the water flows pushes debris towards your skimmers. You only need to empty the skimmer basket once a week or so, depending on your pond and the time of year. 

8. Put rocks and gravel in your pond

You can build a backyard pond without rocks and gravel, but you’ll be missing out. 

Your pond will look more beautiful and more natural than with a black liner bottom. Rocks and gravel are also a home for beneficial bacteria which help filter the water, keeping it clean and clear.

9. *Add underwater lights

This step is optional when you build a koi pond, but now is the best time to do it. 

You can install lights near the end or after, but you may need to call your contractor to come back and do it. Either way, they’re definitely worth the investment.

You can use them to get a view of your pond at night, which helps you double the enjoyment you can get.

10. Attach the pump and skimmer parts

Your pond pump is one of the most critical parts to install when you build a backyard pond.

The pump moves the water through the system to filter it. It also keeps your water bill from skyrocketing by reusing water instead of using new water all the time; it adds up quickly.

11. Clean the rocks and pump out dirty water

You don’t want to skip this step when you build a koi pond.

Rocks have dirt and sediment on them that wash off as the water runs over them. Your pond water will be dirty until the water cleans the rocks fully. You can help speed up the process by cleaning the rocks beforehand.

12. Test fill your pond

It’s a good idea to run tests as you build a backyard pond.

You’ll want to make sure there are no leaks at this stage. Fixing it later can lengthen the timeline and workload, which nobody wants.

You can just use water from your garden hose. If you want to add fish you’ll need to add cleaners to the water to make it more hospitable for them.

13. Create the waterfall

Now you create the waterfall, which means adding more rocks for the water to tumble down. Placement is very time-consuming because you need the water to fall correctly. It’s more complex than many people think.

14. Install the BioFalls

Now you’ll put the finishing touches on the biofalls filter.

15. Tweak the waterfall once the pond is full enough

You need to make sure your waterfall does what you want it to.

This involves checking the flow rate and making sure the water doesn’t leak into your yard. If you skip this step when you build a backyard pond, it’ll be a pain to do it later.

16. Trimming or disguising the liner

You don’t want the liner ruining the natural beauty of your pond.

Disguising liner involves either cutting the liner back or rolling it up and covering it with mulch, rocks, and plants. You’ll like the look way better, plus this helps make it harder for water to get into your yard.

17. Cleaning up

You can’t build a koi pond without having a clean-up step.

Quality contractors will clean up your backyard to the best of their ability. Some may provide basic landscaping services to straighten up the parts around the work area. Either that or they’ll have a recommendation for you.

Potential Follow-Up Steps

There are some steps you may need to take after you build a backyard pond.

If you want to put in fish you’ll need to purify the water. Hose and tap water aren’t suitable for fish due to the chemicals that make it better for us to drink.

You may also want to install some lovely landscaping or plant aquatic plants. This can make your pond look more natural and beautiful.

What You’ll Want To Know Right Now

It can take about a week or so for the water to become completely clear after you build a koi pond. It’s natural and happens whenever anyone tries to build a backyard pond. You can use chemicals (fish and plant safe, please) to clear it up faster.

Your contractor needs to know where you want your pond to go. When you build a koi pond, you need to see if there are wires, pipes, or anything that would stop you from digging.

Putting a pond under trees is good and bad. The pond will have shade and be cool, which makes it harder for algae to grow. But, you’ll need to install pond netting during fall to keep it from filling up with leaves.

You probably want your pond where everyone will get the best view of it right? Open areas are best for this. You can also build a backyard pond next to your patio or deck. 

What 2 Main Factors Can Change How To Build A Koi Pond Or Water Garden?


Installing additions will add a step to your pond project. You can keep your water cleaner and clearer by using Ion Gens and more filters. Try auto-fill devices, aerators, and de-icers for easier maintenance. For a more fun experience, add LED lighting, aquatic plants, and fish.

Your contractor

Pond contractors can build a backyard pond with some slight variations. You should still get an amazing water feature that works splendidly!

Know What’s Happening In Your Backyard

You don’t have to be in the dark during your water feature project. When you know what’s happening it makes it less stressful on you and your contractor

If you want to talk about your pond project, please contact us! You can also check out our pond construction and renovation page for more information.

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